Every woman likes to be financially independent. They would not hesitate to step out of their zone if there is an opportunity to earn and support the family. But when the woman is a mother, usually her career and parenting life comes to a conflicting-like situation. That is when the tension arises and is termed as the ‘working mom stress’ Let us delve into the day to day challenges of the working mother and how she can resolve and minimize the stress.
How stress can harm a working woman?
No mother can be a supermom. There are a lot of ups and downs which every working mother has to go through. She should realize that no matter how much hard work she puts into parenting and career, there will always be a gap to fill. She should stop blaming herself when things don’t happen as per plan. Instead of taking the burden of parenting on herself alone, she should share it with her spouse and other family members. A little bit of planning and support from the family would go a long way in helping the working mother to balance work and family.
1. Challenges of a working mom faced at home
- At times, when the child falls sick, the mother is preferred to be there even if the father or other family members are available. For a mother who is working, it becomes a task because she has to cancel her schedule and take care of her sick child.
- As a working mother, once in a while, she may be away from home on an official trip. She has to make all the arrangements regarding who will take care of her child in her absence.
- Sometimes when the child is at home, on a leave from school, it becomes a headache for the working mother. Either she also has to apply for a leave, or arrange for a caretaker to engage him/her in extra-curricular activities.
- Entertainment in the form of trips to movies, picnics, birthday parties, etc is mostly decided by the mother, though the father may also oblige.
2. Working mother challenges at the workplace:
- When I was a working mom, the most irritating comment from my colleagues was, “ Ok, you are working for time pass”. If not then it is in need of pocket money. Due to such reasons, the working mother is never taken seriously at work.
- Working mothers are often prone to stress handling duties professionally and personally. High stress releases cortisol hormone which in turn leads to lifestyle diseases like blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, etc.
- When working mothers apply for leave, eyebrows raise. She is judged as a parent who is more interested in her kids and less responsible towards the workplace.
- Working mothers are often sidelined when it comes to promotion. The boss believes that the working mother can’t handle higher responsibilities as kids and family may take up her productiveness.
- Working moms may efficiently work than her colleagues but when she wants to leave early for some urgent work related to her family, she becomes a topic of gossip or backbiting.
- A working mother is judged by her personal appearance than by her work. If she is well-dressed than she is not caring for her family and if not then she is made fun of.
Dealing with working mom stress – Essential tips to relieve stress:
Nobody will believe if a working mom says, “I don’t have any stress”. Every working mother develops a strategy to cope with the stress of parenting and career. Some of the strategies are-
1. Time management skills are a must for a working mom:
There are many many chores that have to be done by the working mother in addition to her job. It can be shopping, cooking, cleaning, supervising the kids, socializing, medical, etc. Without proper time management skills, she will be in a chaotic situation. Getting up an hour earlier before the kids wake up, gives ample time to relax, focus and plan the day.
2. Honesty counts.
Let the boss and the colleagues know that family is as important as the job. In such a scenario, the mom should have a non-apologetic attitude when she applies for leave or is late for the office. Finally, it is how honestly and sincerely one works, that counts.
Need to come out of the perfect working mom image:
A working mom should sometimes drop her image of a perfect mom and be an ordinary one in order to maintain her sanity. Let go of a promotion if it means spending more time in the office. Accepting failures as part of life will help.
3. Physical and mental presence of the working mom is most crucial for her kids:
When at home she should switch off the phone and keep aside the files. She should share the happenings of the day with her kids. If possible help them in their studies or just give the company. Having dinner together and watching a funny TV program helps to bond.
The working mom should build a strong community of friends and relatives who will willingly step in to take care of her kids in case of an emergency. Also, there is no harm in outsourcing some of the responsibilities like appointing somebody to tutor or take care of the child, ordering food, etc., when she is very busy.
5. A happy mom is the best mom:
A working mother who takes some time off for herself and indulges in activities such as pursuing a hobby, meditation or taking a walk will boost her energy levels. Also socializing will help her stay connected and know what is happening around her. This helps the mom to stay happy from within.
People around working mom whether it is family or colleagues should be considerate and supportive. That will really boost the energy levels and get rid of the working mom guilt. Also, the working mom should know to plan and prioritize her work at home and workplace so that she is efficient with no untoward incidents. Little kids are unpredictable and there is always a scope of unforeseen situations which the working mom should take it in her stride.